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Los Llanos (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈʎanos], locally: [ˈʝanos], "The Plains") is a vast tropical grassland plain situated to the east of the Andes in Colombia and Venezuela, in northwestern South America. It is an ecoregion of the flooded grasslands and savannas biome.
The climate change of the Llanos is extreme. During the rainy season from May to October, parts of the Llanos can flood up to a meter. This turns the woodlands and grassland into a temporary wetland, comparable to the Pantanal of central South America. This flooding also makes the area unique for its wildlife. The area supports around 70 species of water birds, including the Scarlet Ibis. A large portion of the distribution of the White-bearded Flycatcher is in the Llanos.
The flooding also made the area unfit for most agriculture before the advent of modern, industrial farming technology. Therefore, during the Spanish colonial era, the prime economic activity of the area came from the herding of millions of heads of cattle. The term llanero ("plainsman") became synonymous with the cowhands that took care of the herds, and had some cultural similarities to the
In the wet season most of the Llanos is flooded and travel is by boat down the numerous temporary and permanent waterways.
In Los llanos the governments of Venezuela and Colombia had developed a strong oil and gas industry in zones of Arauca, Casanare, Guárico, Anzoátegui, Apure and Monagas. The Orinoco Belt, entirely in Venezuelan territory, consists of large deposits of extra heavy crude (oil sands). The Orinoco belt oil sands are known to be one of the largest, behind that of the Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada. Venezuela's non-conventional oil deposits of about 1,200 billion barrels (1.9×1011 m3), found primarily in the Orinoco oil sands, are estimated to approximately equal the world's reserves of conventional oil.
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